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What to Look for When Buying a Used Box Truck in 2023?

There is nothing wrong with buying a used box truck especially if you are starting your box truck business on a low budget. But what can go wrong is if you didn’t do your due diligence before buying the used truck. In this article, we will help you identify what you should look out for if you want to buy a used box truck.

The truth is that if you get it wrong, you will struggle to keep the box truck on the road, you will experience loads of downtime, and of course, spend more money and time in the mechanic workshop. Having said that, here are the things you should look out for when buying a used box truck.

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20 Things to Look Out for When Buying a Used Box Truck

  1. Check the Engine

A box truck without a good engine is like an empty box because the engine of a box truck is the most valuable part of the box truck. So, if you want to buy a used box truck, the first place to check is the engine. You should examine the engine physically before asking the seller to start and run the engine. Observe the sound coming from the engine and also the capacity of the engine. With that, you should be able to notice any abnormalities that exist.

  1. Check the Body of the Box Truck

Another thing to look out for when buying a used box truck is the body of the truck. No doubt, the body of a used box truck is what ought to attract the buyer.

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But being attracted to a box truck is not enough, you should examine the body to make sure it is in a good shape and can accommodate the stress box trucks are subjected to when in use. When examining the body of the box truck, make sure you look out for rusty areas and also for bashed areas or parts that are not properly aligned.

  1. Check Out the Interiors

The fact that you will be spending most of your time inside the box truck means that you should go for a box truck that has a cozy interior. In essence, before you buy a used box truck, make sure you examine the interior of the truck and make sure the seats, the armrest, the headrest, and other parts of the interior are in good shape.

  1. Check for Oil Leakage

When an engine leaks oil, the possibility of the engine knocking or performing far below expectations is high. You have to be topping the oil at regular intervals so as to keep the engine of the box truck working or you will spend extra money fixing the leaky engine or even changing the engine outright.

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Trust me, this is not what you want to do after spending money buying a truck. So, before buying a used box truck, make sure you go under the box truck to check if the engine is leaking oil. It is easier to notice because the oil will be visible on the floor.

  1. Check the Lights

Another very important thing to look out for when buying a used box truck is the lighting system of the box truck. The fact that you are likely going to be driving the box truck at night or when it is rainy means that you will need light to be functioning and effective. So, you are expected to check the headlamp, the fog light, the trafficators, the inner light, and the lights on the dashboard. You should ask to know how much it will take to fix them.

  1. Check the Dashboard

When buying a used box truck, it is advisable that you check the dashboard to be sure all the gauges and indicators are functioning. The temperature gauges, the odometer, voltmeter, tachometer, engine oil pressure gauge, fuel gauge, and air pressure must all be working, or else you will run into trouble when driving the box truck.

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For example, if the engine oil pressure gauge is not functioning, you can be running on low engine oil and you won’t know. The implication is that the engine of the truck can get damaged if you continue to drive the truck with low engine oil.

  1. Check the Mileage

You are expected to check the mileage of the used box truck before making your choice. All vehicles have odometers, including heavy-duty trucks, so most drivers are familiar with this dashboard gauge. The odometer shows the total mileage the box truck has covered over its lifespan.

The higher the mileage, the longer the box truck is in use, and the more expensive it will be to maintain. Please note that a good mileage for a used box truck would be under 100,000 miles for gas engines, and under 200,000 miles for diesel engines.

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If you can use a box truck under proper maintenance and driving conditions, it will serve you up to 155,000 miles. However, if you fail to keep it under proper maintenance, its useful life will surely drop by 12,000 miles.

  1. Check the Tire Condition

In order to maximize your money when buying a used box truck, you must make sure that all the tires are in good condition. Even if you have plans to change the tires, they should be able to serve for some time. So, when buying a used box truck, make sure you examine the tires including the spare tires to be sure they are all in good shape.

  1. Check the Functionality of the Windows

Another part of a box truck that you should look at when buying a used box truck is the window. The windows should be able to function properly, they should be able to move up and down whenever you want. The window control buttons must be functional.

  1. Check the Doors

The doors of a box truck are an important part of the box truck that must be functional or else you might get trapped inside the truck if the door refuses to open. You should check the doors several times to be sure you won’t have to struggle to open or close them.

  1. Check Air System for Leaks 

Before buying a used box truck, it is important that you check the air system for leaks. Please note that the best way to detect leaks is to use an ultrasonic acoustic detector, which can recognize the high-frequency hissing sounds associated with air leaks. These portable units consist of l microphones, amplifiers, and audio filters, and usually have either visual indicators or earphones to detect leaks.

  1. Check Tractor Protection Valve

Another important component part of a box truck that you should look out for when buying a used box truck is the tractor protection valve. This is very important because the tractor protection valve protects the tractor’s air supply from being depleted in the event of a trailer breakaway.

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Any truck or tractor designed to pull a trailer fitted with air brakes will be equipped with a tractor protection system. You should test the tractor protection valve by allowing the air supply to properly charge, turning off the engine, then releasing air from the system by pressing the brake pedal several times. The tractor protection valve should move into its emergency position when psi drops to an unsafe level.

  1. Check the Brakes

The brakes of a box truck are an important component of the box truck that should not be ignored. The fact that you can’t drive a box truck with bad or faulty brakes means that you should not buy a box truck with a bad or faulty brake system.

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Please note that the brake drums need to be checked for excessive wear or cracks. They also have to be machined smooth when a brake shoe is replaced and can only be machined down so far; then they must be replaced. Wheel or brake cylinders need to be inspected for any signs of leaking.

  1. Check the Wheel Suspension

Another important part of the box truck you must check is the wheel suspension. This is important because the wheel suspension assumes a crucial role in the vehicle chassis. It establishes the connection between the wheels and the vehicle’s body and transfers all forces and torques between the wheels and bodywork.

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The wheel suspension is intended to ensure safe driving characteristics and the highest possible comfort. Please note that there is a differentiation between independent suspensions, rigid axles, and torsion-beam axles. If the axle in question is a driving axle, it ensures that the driving force from the engine is transferred to the wheels. In addition, the front axle transfers steering motions to the wheels.

15. Check the Transmission System

The transmission system is yet another very important component of a box truck you must check when buying a used box truck. If the transmission system is not working properly, it is advisable that you should withdraw from buying the truck.

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This is so because sometimes, a malfunctioned transmission might trigger leaks of the transmission fluid. It causes the levels of the fluid to go low, which affects the functionality of the vehicle. Driving through low transmission fluid levels might result in permanent and costly vehicle damages and expensive repairs.

  1. Check the Steering System

You are not expected to buy a used box truck with a faulty steering system. If you do, how do you intend to drive the box truck out of the dealership shop? This is why it is very important to check the steering system of a box truck before buying it. A box truck steering system contains the following basic parts: Steering wheel, Steering shaft, Column, Tie rods, rack, idler arms, Pitman arm, and drag or the center link.

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Please note when checking the steering system, make sure you look out for wear-outs. If the steering rack begins to wear out, you may notice “jerking” of the wheel when going over bumps, inconsistent steering, or “clunking” sounds in the steering column. Clicking or popping noises may also be present.

  1. Check the Front and Rear Axle

Another important part of a box truck to look out for when buying a used box truck is the front and rear axle. An axle is a transverse shaft whose ends enter the wheel hub. Trucks have at least 2 axles. These mechanical components are located at the front and rear of heavy trucks. Their purpose is to support the weight of the vehicle and maintain the space between the wheels. In most cases, rear axles are live, meaning they rotate with the vehicle’s wheels.

  1. Check for Leakages

The fact that you are expected to use the box truck to transport goods means that the box truck should not be leaking; when it is raining, water shouldn’t enter the carriage compartment of the box truck. If the box truck is leaking, water can damage the goods you are transporting. This is why it is important to check the rooftop of the used box truck to be sure it is not leaking when it rains.

  1. Check the VIN of the Box Truck

Before you buy a used box truck, you must know the history of the box truck. To know the history of a used box truck, you should request the VIN of the box truck from the seller. A VIN is composed of 17 characters (digits and capital letters) that act as a unique identifier for the vehicle. A VIN displays the car’s unique features, specifications, and manufacturer.

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The VIN can be used to track recalls, registrations, warranty claims, thefts, and insurance coverage. People looking to purchase a used vehicle should always obtain a vehicle’s VIN before buying. Armed with a car’s VIN, prospective buyers can get reliable information about the vehicle’s history. This can protect them from getting scammed.

  1. Cross Check the Vehicle’s Documents

Lastly, another important thing to look out for when buying a used box truck is the documents of the vehicle. You should demand to see and cross-check the following documents to be sure they are not forged before paying for the box truck;

  • Vehicle history report
  • Maintenance records.
  • Warranty documentation.
  • As-Is documentation
  • Odometer disclosure
  • Title
  • Bill of Sale.
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In Conclusion,

It is important to note that some of the things listed above can only be checked by a mechanic. In essence, if you intend to make the right purchase, you must carry your mechanic along. They will be able to use their technical experience to spot things that a layman can’t see.